The state-owned explorer ONGC claimed to have struck the first prospective shale gas deposit on Thursday. It said natural gas, trapped in shale rock deposits, flowed out from the Barren Measure shale in its first R&D well near Durgapur at Icchapur, West Bengal.
“Though the well is still under assessment, the breakthrough is significant as India is the first Asian country where gas was discovered from shale outside U.S and Canada. The well RNSG-1 drilled down to a depth of 2000 m. The Barren Measure Shale, which is the main target, was encountered from 985 to 1843 m. This well was spudded on 26th September 2010,” it said in a statement.
Shale gas is one of the predominant unconventional natural gas and major source of onland gas particularly in US and Canada. In USA, Shale gas production contributes to nearly 17% of the total gas production.
As per the initial studies, many shale sequences in well explored basins are found to be promising like Damodar, Cambay, and Krishna Godavari and Cauvery basins. Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries recently acquired many thousands of acres of shale gas fields in the US.
ONGC said that Damodar Basin, where ONGC already has its presence for CBM, was prioritized for R & D exploration in Shale Gas in view of the shallow nature of the shale formations, and abundant water availability.
The drilling was done by international mining expert, Schlumberger. Relevant permissions were taken from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for carrying out such an operation. The estimated expenditure is about Rs 168 Cr., and the total project is expected to be completed within 520 days, the firm added.
“The successful R&D pilot testing of first ever shale gas on surface will put India on Shale Gas map of the world. It has opened up new hopes for meeting our energy needs and encouraged to venture into many shale sequences in well explored Cambay, KG, Cauvery and Assam-Arakan Basins for exploitation of Shale Gas in Indian subcontinent,” it added.